Alternatives to custody

This page details the range of alternatives to custody that are available to the courts and which enable the young person to remain in their community.

Deferred sentence

Allows the young person time to demonstrate good behaviour or voluntarily engage with services prior to determining sentence.

Structured deferred sentence

Fine or compensation order

The young person must pay compensation or a fine.

Drug Treatment and Testing Order



Six months to three years.


Community Payback Order

Under section 14 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 a Community Payback Order (CPO) may impose one or more of the following requirements:

  1. Offender supervision
  2. Compensation
  3. Unpaid work or other activity
    1. Level 1: 20–100 hours within 3 months
    2. Level 2: 101–300 hours within 6 months
  4. Programme requirement (individual or group work)
  5. Residence requirement (specifies where the person is to reside or places they may not visit)
  6. Mental health treatment (distinct from mental health orders)
  7. Drug treatment (distinct from a DTTO)
  8. Alcohol treatment
  9. Conduct (person must refrain from certain actions)



Six months to three years.


Breaches and compliance

Remittal to Children’s Hearings System (CHS) for disposal

Should a judge or sheriff decide to remit a case back to the CHS for disposal possible outcomes include:

National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System 2010

These standards provide a framework for criminal justice social work practice, including guidance on:

Third Sector organisations

The support services offered as alternatives to custody may be provided by third sector organisations. These organisations may also be involved in providing court reports.

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